November 1, 2005
Some Kind of Monster
This movie rules. But it’s also kind of pathetic. You could laugh at it and all the "Spinal Tap" parallels, and there are a crazy lot of them, but these are real people and they’re overcome by a weird amount of insecurity. Which is what makes the documentary interesting. I mean, these guys made "Ride the Lightning," "Master of Puppets" (Pastor of Muppets), "And Justice for All" and "Garage Days," they’ve sold 90 million records, and they’re insecure like they’re 19-year-olds just starting out. There’s no pride about what they’ve accomplished--only hysteria about what’s in front of them.
It’s sort of like watching "Let it Be"--the camera acting like a magnifying glass showing just how much these guys hate each other. The main moment I remember from "Let it Be" is Paul McCartney saying, "I think we can be the next Stravinsky" and John Lennon cowering under a table. The difference between "Let it Be" and "Some Kind of Monster" is that The Beatles were at their peak--they were recording "Don’t Let Me Down," "Let it Be" and the rest. There’s not one song in "Some Kind of Monster" that comes anywhere near what they’d done before.
That’s the main thing that’s not touched on in the movie. If you aren’t familiar with the movie--the documentary follows around Metallica during the recording of a record while they’re also going through group therapy with a shrink. The shrink is a total hack shystering them for $40,000 a month, and I’m sure he doesn’t know the difference between their new songs and old songs. Watching him trying to bob his head along with the music is one of the real amusements. It’s not really mentioned that the reason they’re freaking out so heavily is because they can’t write songs anymore.
For some reason the movie really stuck with me. It’s kind of heartening to have it more together than people who have accomplished everything they set out to do. I’ve written here before how rock stars seem to lose their talent after a while. If you’re in Metallica--40-years-old and wildly rich, it’s gotta scare the shit out of you if the band is over. You can only go on so many vacations for the rest of your life. Being that rich and comfortable seems to kill something important. Also, Metallica wrote their best songs when they were raging drunks. I kind of lost interest with "Smell the Glove"--I mean, "The Black Album." When they cleaned out, their songs started getting boring. That’s not a great message to live by. All in all: great rockumentary.
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